Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vocab Lesson: Cancer 101

Entering the cancer/ hospital world requires a whole new language.  Before I start using a bunch of medical garble that doesn't make any sense, I thought I’d put together a glossary for you.

Metastatic anaplastic medulloblastoma – A form of pediatric brain cancer with metastasis (spread) to my spine.

Hydrocephalous – The build up of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. Mine was from the tumor blocking the ventricle (empty space in the brain that holds CSF.)

Necrotizing Fasciitis (Nec Fasc [Neck fash]) -A deadly flesh-eating infection, which I contracted in my left calf and thigh.

Carboplatin (Carbo) – Daily infusion before radiation
Cisplatin – One infusion with each round of chemotherapy
Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxin) – Two infusions with each round of chemotherapy
Vincristine – Weekly with radiation and once with each round of chemotherapy

SIDE EFFECTS of treatment-

Nausea/ Vomitting
Hair loss

Radiation  burn – Radiation therapy was delivered to my brain and spine. Radiation causes damage to the skin, like a very intense, localized sunburn. "After burn" formed from radiation that went through my back and left a burn on my chest and neck that matched the burned stripe down my spine. (As shown in this picture). 

Mucositis – Develops from the mass die off of white blood cells causing inflamed gums and mouth sores. (My shiny, swollen gums in this picture)

Late effects-Cancer isn’t over when treatment stops. Many patients experience lifelong effects from cancer treatment. Effects may not appear for some time after treatment.
Some of my late effects include minor hearing loss, hypothyroidism, estrogen deficiency, human growth hormone deficiency and memory loss.

Zofran – Anti-nausea drug I used on a regular basis
Marinol - Anti-nausea drug made from a derivative of marijuana.
Ativan- Anti-nausea drug and relaxant
Dilaudid (Morphine) – pain medication

The Blob- My tumor’s nickname (bloblets – metastases on my spine)

Hem/Onc – Hematology Oncology (Cancer and Blood Disorders) Clinic

NG Tube- Nutrition/ feeding tube that is placed in the stomach through the nose

Central Line- Catheter placed under the skin in a vein to deliver medication, take blood etc.
            Port- CL placed entirely under the skin and accessed as needed (what I had)
            Hickman Line, PICC Line- other central lines

Infusion – Delivery of medication or blood products through IV or central line (Here I am getting Carbo before radiation).

Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) – Blood test that measures immune system levels

Simulation- Set up for radiation. Lasers are used to measure the precise locations (down to the millimeter) where radiation therapy will be delivered.

Mischief Managed,

Run of Hope Total: $1,420

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